Moving the blog...

I've moved my blog to greener pastures. Sorry for the inconvenience.



Leah Shovelhands

While many are familiar with the popular Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands, few are aware of the straight-to-dvd sequel, Leah Shovelhands. The story follows a young girl and her desire to shovel small amounts of snow from one bucket to another.

Sadly, in this pursuit of snow transfer, young Leah is unable to hold a shovel due to her multi-layer mittens. Thankfully, her McGyver-esque father had the brilliant idea of taping the shovels to her hands. A very happy girl ensued.

Okay, before you equate me to the lunatic who taped the Packer jersey to his son, this was not done out of some bizarre hatred towards my daughter. Rather, it was done because she asked me to and it seemed like a reasonable solution to an unusual problem.

Also, here is a picture of the stray cat, Chester, who has been living in our garage for the past week. Sadly, Chester turns out to be a girl which is the second animal I have incorrectly named based on their gender. Oh well. Either way, if you want a cat, let me know. This little guy...er...girl...can't live in our garage forever.


My Little Cheesehead

It's amazing how fast kids learn stuff. Leah now knows what a football is, can identify it on TV, knows who the Packers are and is well aware that "Dad watch football." She's a smart one. A little too observant at times, but still smart.

Today was a rather long day for a day off. Having two kids who are pretty congested and sick in general that it is hard to get any sleep let alone sleep in. Thankfully my wonderful wife did allow me to sleep in until 9 after getting up at 6 with Leah.

Tonight we went to drop some food off for friends of ours who just had their first baby. Then we went grocery shopping and to help out at the youth ministry at church. I am in charge of the games each week, so this week I pulled out the classic "Sock-head Jousting." For the uninitiated, you play this by putting a pantyhose on your head with a tennis ball in the end and twirling it around trying to catch and remove the same contraption from your opponent's head. For the night I was 4-0, which I credit to my abnormally large nose and satellite-esque ears.
Next week I get to lead the "spiritual" component for the group. I'm not sure what I'm going to talk about yet, but I'm leaning towards the topic of how heroes, idols and God need to interact.



Thanks to a recent purchase of a thumbdrive usb camera (only $12 on amazon), I suddenly feel inspired to blog again. I never liked blogging when my photos were just something I found on the internet or worse, no photo at all. I'm hopeful with a camera always in my pocket I can capture the many interesting and in some cases bizarre moments on my daily life.

With that said, in the last few weeks we have just been buried in snow. It seems like every weekend I am out shoveling, snow blowing and plowing. At this point, it is getting hard to even find a place to put the snow. The photo below is while I was riding the snowplow down towards the office and dining hall, eating the blowing snow the whole time.

It's certainly a bittersweet gift of snow though. I am always happy to see kids enjoying sledding thanks to the snow. I just wish there was a better way to remove it from the places we don't want the snow.

At least I had a cute little girl to cheer me up when I went inside to warm up. I swear she just keeps getting cuter every day.


Familial Adjusting

Closing in on one week with Micah in our lives sure went fast. He has actually been a really great kid and Leah, likewise, has adjusted considerably. There are still times that I can tell Leah wants nothing more than to be the undivided center of attention, but there are just as many times where she looks are her brother and simply becomes giddy with joy.

For me, I forgot how much I enjoyed just holding a little baby. Most days when Leah and Jamie are taking a nap, I have had Micah on my chest while I either watch some TV or play a videogame. It is probably the most relaxing feeling in the world.

At the same time, it isn't all rainbows and unicorns. There are stressful moments when Leah is acting up or Micah decides to start squealing like pig that can quickly wear anyone's patience. It's these moments that I need to learn to stay calm during and remember that I need to be the voice of reason when the kids go off the deep end. I have seen many parents lose their cool when the kids act up and it just perpetuates or even increases the problem. I can't let that happen.

Another unique change is how Leah has suddenly started to cling to me even harder than normal. She has always been very close with me but with the additional attention Jamie needs to pay to Micah for feeding, Leah is trying to comfort herself to the fact that even though Micah is here, mom and dad still love her.

It will be an interesting ride to parent two kids. I can't believe how much the dynamic changes...


And Then There Were Four...

It's hard to believe it happened already, but here's our new son Micah Joseph Coenen. It was pretty crazy how it happened. Let me explain.

On Friday, Jamie and I brought Leah to the doctor for Leah's bout with eczema. After the appointment, we were on our way back home from the hospital (a 40 minute drive) and Jamie said she wasn't feeling good. We figured it was just an upset stomach as Jamie is prone to car sickness.

When we got home, Jamie went and laid down and I fed Leah dinner and gave her a bath. Soon, Jamie was getting sick and complain of stomach cramps. We called a friend of ours who was going to act as a midwife for Jamie and she said we should probably go back to the hospital and bring along everything we need in case we need to deliver on the road. (Yeah, that part freaked me out a little.)

At the hospital, the checked Jamie and found her to be 4 cm and full effaced. For Tim and others who do not speak pregnant-ese, that means the baby is getting ready to be delivered. At this point Jamie is having contractions regularly and is getting sick quite a bit. She is pale and dehydrated.

I called a friend to come and take Leah to spare her the ugly side of childbirth. She brought Leah home and my mom eventually took over for her. It was comforting to know Leah was squared away during this process.

After two full saline bags via IV, Jamie was moving along. The doctor broke her water and suddenly the contractions doubled in intensity and duration. It was pretty rough. Jamie told me at one point this was our last kid and that if we had another, I would be delivering it. Like I said, it was pretty intense.

We opted for Jamie to get an epidural at this point because the pain was really intense and due to the dehydration, Jamie just didn't have the energy to cope with the contractions. As the doctor administered the medication, Jamie was sitting up in bed and continued to labor.

Shortly after she laid back down, the doctor came in confused why Jamie was still in so much pain. He checked Jamie and found she was fully dilated and at a +2 (out of 5). In other words, it was time to push. 3 contractions later, Micah was out and in great shape. The total process took 4 hours compared to the 8 with Leah's birth. Pretty amazing.

Now we are learning how to integrate this new member of the family into everything. So far Leah has been very good about loving her brother despite the attention his getting. I am eager for them both to grow up together and learn to be a family with us.

Here are some photos from the big day. It still feels like such a blur. Heck, this whole year feels like a blur, and these last few days are just a smudge in it.


The Irrational World of Worry

For the past two weeks, my life has been more consumed by worry than any other emotion. While most people would have probably considered it a rational feeling for the situation I was in, I am always disappointed in myself when my lack of faith and trust in God allows me to believe He is not in control or that He will not do all things for good no matter the outcome.

Granted, this belief does not guarantee the safety of loved ones or my success (in my view) in all situations. And this is probably why my level of worry was just so high.

The cause of my worry was the same as it is for many people; a meeting with a doctor. While I trust the medical profession probably more than any other I interact with, it is hard for me to imagine that they all realize how much meaning and impact their words have on everyone they see. People rarely go to the doctor to hear just good news. They go there for the truth and the reality of a situation to get clarity of what the future holds.

When we went to the doctor for an ultrasound a few months ago, the doctor told us that our baby to be had a slight problem they would be monitoring in the coming months. Apparently the growth of the uterer (a tube that goes from the kidney to the bladder) had grown too quickly which can result in some complications. It was looking like we would have to deliver the baby very early so the medical staff could do surgery.

For weeks we lived with this information with little incident. When we went to a follow-up appointment two weeks ago, the ultrasound appeared to show that things had taken a turn for the worse. The size of the uterer had gone from a "5" to a "9." In most cases, numbers mean something to me, but in this case I was never given an explanation so I was left to wonder just how bad the situation was.

As we waited for an appointment with a specialist to give us a second opinion two weeks later, our lives were consumed with stress and worry of the situation. It is never comfortable to have no control of a situation, especially when it involves one of your children. As a dad, I wanted to protect my son, but all I could do was pray and trust.

When we saw the specialist, it was clear that this issue was far less dangerously than we had made it out to be in our minds. The doctor told us that this is one of those cases that ultrasounds can be a bless and a curse and in this case it was a curse. The ultrasound they did showed the uterer to be between a 5 and a 6 (which I also learned is the measurement of the diameter of the uterer in tenths of a centimeter) which is on the borderline of a problem, but not worth delivering early.

So in the end, all things worked for good. Our baby is fine, we are all anxiously awaiting his healthy arrival and I am again reminded that my ability to worry will never out perform God's ability to heal and help those in need.